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NYRA Reorganization Board Ushers in New Era

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The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Reorganization Board of Directors held its inaugural meeting in Manhattan on Wednesday.

The meeting officially ushered in a new era of leadership, accountability and transparency for the operator of three of New York’s Thoroughbred racetracks. The Reorganization Board addressed a series of issues regarding ethics and transparency policies, equine health and safety matters, regulatory oversight, financial issues and proposed racing schedules.

“Today’s meeting signifies a renewed focus of making New York’s Thoroughbred horse racing a model for the rest of the nation, including an emphasis on equine health and safety” said Board Chair David Skorton. “My colleagues on the Reorganization Board are committed to learning from each other and the public and to working with NYRA management to better serve the horse racing industry and its fans. As we did with today’s meeting, the Board will continue to work in an open, accountable and effective manner, as NYRA is an integral and important part of New York’s culture and part of what makes our state a national leader in so many areas.”

The Reorganization Board formally elected Cornell University President David Skorton as Chair; approved a new mission statement with a focus on equine safety; approved the naming of Michael Kotlikoff VMD, PhD as Special Advisor to the Board for Equine Health and Safety; issued policies regarding political contributions, wagering and other matters by NYRA personnel and Directors; approved a portion of the proposed 2013 NYRA racing calendar and stakes schedule; and heard proposals on NYRA’s involvement with next year’s Saratoga 150th Anniversary Celebration.

In total, the Reorganization Board today: Approved a new NYRA Mission Statement: “Meeting the highest standards in thoroughbred racing and equine safety.”

Named Michael Kotlikoff VMD, PhD (Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University) as a Special Advisor to the Reorganization Board for Equine Health and Safety (see bio below)

Approved a proposal that NYRA will conduct business subject to compliance with the New York’s Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law. NYRA’s Law Department was instructed to make trade secret declarations under FOIL.

Undertook a series of ethics and compliance matters, including: A prohibition on New York State political campaign contributions by NYRA and NYRA officers. A termination of “The New York Thoroughbred Racing Industry Political Action Committee;”

A prohibition on wagering by NYRA officers;

Issued notice to Board Members to complete and sign NYRA Code of Ethics, Disclosure by Officers and Directors, and Anti-Money Laundering policies;

Approved a portion of the 2013 racing dates and stakes schedule;

Discussed plans for the “Saratoga 150” celebration;

Listened to a presentation regarding regulatory oversight of NYRA;

Heard a presentation on NYRA’s current financial status;

Approved amended By-Laws and Certificate of Incorporation;

Suggested tentative dates for 2013 Board meetings (to be published soon)

All materials discussed and reviewed during the Reorganization Board’s first meeting, including a list of Board members, bylaws, ethics measures, full committee memberships and more are available at NYRA’s website: click here.

–NYRA Press